Dog owners told to ‘stay vigilant’ following fresh cases of life-threatening canine disease

Dog owners have been warned to “stay vigilant” as new cases of a life-threatening canine disease have been recorded across Britain.

Alabama rot – also known as Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy (CRGV) – is a disease that impacts dogs, damaging the blood vessels in the skin and kidneys. It can cause visible sores and lead to severe organ dysfunction and kidney failure.

The news comes after a Berkshire couple were left “heartbroken” after their three-year-old Labrador, Grace, passed away after contracting the disease.

Her owner, Simone, told Berkshire Live: “Grace was like a daughter to us, so it isn’t easy to accept she’s gone. She was young, only three years old, she was fit and she was powerful but this is such a dangerous disease and everything happens so fast.”

After discovering a lump on Grace’s chest which was very sore, Simone took her straight to the local vets. Here, they gave her pain relief and antibiotics but unfortunately the lump grew in size and she began to decline very quickly.

Veterinary specialist clinic Anderson Moores has advised dog owners across the country to remain “calm but vigilant” after two new cases were reported this year. Though it remains a relatively rare disease, 28 cases were reported across the UK in 2021.

“We’re incredibly sorry to have to confirm Grace was a victim of CRGV”, said Anderson Moores veterinarian Josh Walker.

“We have been at the forefront of research into CRGV for almost a decade and have witnessed first-hand the often-devastating effects of the disease.

“Treatment largely revolves around management of the sudden onset of kidney failure and, sadly, with our current understanding of the disease, is only successful in around 10 per cent of cases.

“We’re advising owners across the country to remain calm but vigilant and seek advice from their local vets if their dog develops unexplained skin lesions.”

The symptoms of Alabama rot include skin sores, visible swelling, red patches or skin defects not caused by a known injury, and changes in appetite. Reduced appetite, drinking more, vomiting and lethargy are all signs of acute kidney injury.

Though it is difficult to avoid Alabama rot, the RSPCA recommends washing off all mud following a wet and muddy walk, particularly through woodland. New advice also suggests keeping dogs away from muddy areas.

The cause of Alabama rot is currently unknown, but the RSPCA notes that most cases are reported by owners who walk their dogs in the countryside. With the majority occurring during winter and spring, cases are generally rare during the summer months.